Tim Cook

Obtained via Buzzfeed, Apple CEO Tim Cook has sent a memo this morning to employees reaffirming its position against the government in the Apple/FBI iPhone backdoor case. He thanks Apple employees and feedback from customers for their public support and says that whilst Apple has no sympathy for terrorists, the data security of hundreds of millions of law-abiding citizens is threatened by the government order.

Apple wants the government to withdraw its demands justified by the All Writs Act and encourages an open discussion between law enforcement, technology and privacy experts on privacy issues. In addition, Apple has posted an expanded question and answers page as a followup to Tim Cook’s original open letter to better inform the public of the situation.

In the memo, Cook openly notes that it does not feel right to be fighting against the government when defending constitutional liberties and freedoms.

Apple is a uniquely American company. It does not feel right to be on the opposite side of the government in a case centering on the freedoms and liberties that government is meant to protect.

Cook says some members of Congress want Apple to backtrack on its encryption policies in iOS, particularly the changes made in iOS 8 which prevent iPhone data from being decrypted at all without the correct passcode.

Cook clearly says that going back on this is not an option for them: ‘We all know that turning back the clock on that progress would be a terrible idea’. Many expect Apple to double down on further lockdown security features in the next versions of iOS and future iPhone hardware. The memo also reinforces Apple’s view that the problem is not so much the actions of this particular case, but the ‘dangerous precedent’ creating a backdoor will mean for future legal cases.

Apple is required to post a formal response in court by the end of the week. It is expected to refute the government order. The victims of the San Bernardino shooting have mixed feelings on whether they think Apple should be compelled to comply to the court order and create a backdoor into the suspect’s iPhone.

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About the Author

Benjamin Mayo

Benjamin develops iOS apps professionally and covers Apple news and rumors for 9to5Mac. Listen to Benjamin, every week, on the Happy Hour podcast. Check out his personal blog. Message Benjamin over email or Twitter.